On Tuesday evening, The Ogden Theatre was buzzing with a unique energy. It appeared calm, but the crowd waiting in the old, beautiful theatre carried a gentle excitement that had been slowly building over the course of the last decade. The name on the marquee that evening was a familiar one, Jimmy Eat World. A band know to many from their hit-laden release of 2001, the group’s singles - both new and old - continue to grace radio stations nationwide year after year. Their success in the early 2000’s have led them to tour with acts like Weezer, Green Day, Taking Back Sunday and more across the globe for over a decade. Even more notably, the group has released music for the past twenty years without a single hiatus, band breakup, rehab stint or lineup change. Fans gather this month with members Jim Adkins, Zach Lind, Rick Burch and Tom Linton to celebrate a momentous chapter of their career: the ten year anniversary tour celebrating the release of Futures, playing the album in it’s entirety for the first time ever.
As the stage went dark that night, the crowd became electrified. Lead singer Jim Adkins approached his microphone while a medley of the album’s different melodies hummed through the sound system. With a tremendous roar, Jim’s guitar let out the opening notes to the song “Futures”, and just like that, the room exploded. The hour went all too quickly, with Adkins taking little time to stop and talk in between tracks; the band knew the album was the priority of the night and did all they could to keep the mood where it should be. By track four, “Kill”, I suddenly realized one of the reasons I was enjoying the set so much: nothing was missing from a single song. From the passion in Jim’s voice, to the strings parts, drum fills, and “ooh"ing backing vocals on songs like “Night Drive” and “Drugs or Me”, fans were hearing many songs for the first time live since the initial tour cycle in 2004/2005, and the band was truly doing each of them justice.
As the closing lines of “23” rang out through the room, fans erupted in applause. The gentleman from Tempe, AZ took a quick moment to take in the love and then left the stage, reappearing a few quick minutes later for the first of their two encores. As i’ve mentioned before, this tour is a celebration of the Futures album, but I hadn’t foreseen the extent the band would take it to. In 2005, Jimmy Eat World released the Stay On My Side Tonight” EP, a somewhat unknown collection of songs that features tracks the band worked on with acclaimed producer Mark Trombino for Futures. Multiple situations eventually led to Trombino leaving the project, and none of the songs made the final track list, making some consider them the “b-sides” to the record. The first encore of the evening began with the band performing nearly the entire EP; this tour marking the first time the songs have been performed live. The second encore of the evening brought more familiarity back to the show for more passive fans, the band closing the night with tracks “Authority Song”, “Big Casino”, and “Sweetness”. Noticeably absent from the evening’s set list was “The Middle”, possibly the band’s most well known song. Some may have been upset with the band's decision to not play it, though I found it admirable. That song has more or less defined the group since it’s release, and I loved seeing a show that ended without the predictable, “regular” closing number.
Most people know Jimmy Eat World for their work on Bleed American, there’s no arguing that. But it has been made clear that both fans as well as the band themselves agree that Futures is worth a major celebration and outpouring of admiration - one even Bleed American didn’t receive. This album is what I consider the group's magnum opus: a complete synthesis of where they had been musically in their past, as well as where they were going sonically in their future. Some might not be fans of this emo-rock quartet, but no one can deny the group’s natural talent, the catchiness of their music, or their unending commitment their supporters. This tour is a beautiful “thank you” to the fans who have stuck it through for the past decade, and more than that, it was a chance for fans like myself to come say “thank you” in person for years of emotions and moments shared with the album. So, my good gentleman of Jimmy Eat World, thank you. For everything.
(To help celebrate the occasion, Jimmy Eat World has teamed up with Source Radio Cast to re-press three of the band's albums on limited edition vinyls. You can order them from SRC's website here)
set list: Futures, Just Tonight..., Work, Kill, The World You Love, Pain, Drugs Or Me, Polaris, Nothingwrong, Night Drive, 23. ENCORE 1: Over, Closer, Chase This Light, Lucky Denver Mint, Disintegration. ENCORE 2: Authority Song, Big Casino, Sweetness.